Alexander / Ellis
Rotarian Dr. Bob Alexander (left), retired administrator and professor at Marshall, is ready for a one-on-one scrimmage with Rotarian Dr. Bill Ellis, representing Anderson University. Anderson has the ball.
Midkiff / Alexander
Rotarians Tom Midkiff (back to camera) and Dr. Robert Alexander install a basketball goal on the Ellis driveway court.
Dr. William C. 'Bill' Ellis
Ready for a scrimmage on the basketball court

May 20, 2017

He is a charter member of Putnam Rotary and a continuing source of inspiration for the club and the community. In fact, the local club might never have taken off in the area without his leadership and guidance.

Dr. William C. "Bill" Ellis took the initiative in 1995 to call a meeting of Putnam's civic and business leaders at Dwight's Restaurant in Hurricane.

Only six people showed up to consider the prospects for a Rotary Club in the area.

But with typical diplomacy and persistence, Ellis continued a campaign for a new county-wide civic presence in the county.

And at the charter banquet (May 16, 1995) the club had mushroomed to more than fifty members.

There was room only for thirty-six names on the charter plaque.

A native of Cabin Creek, Ellis had retired to Teays Valley after 25 years as pastor of the Peoples Church of God in Decatur, Illinois. But he continued to spread his ministry through multiple activities.

As a syndicated columnist, his weekly opinions and observations have led to numerous awards and recognitions, including "lifestyle columnist" by the West Virginia Press Association, and the coveted Amy Foundation Writing Award for Outstanding Merit.

With spouse Kitty Ellis, he shares service recognition by the National Religious Broadcasters Association.

His partner for 62 years, Kitty has contributed in publication of two recordings of music and speaking by the couple.

He attributes their happy years of wedded bliss to following the Rotary "Four-Way Test."

"Don't rush into love blindly," advises Ellis.. "It's bad enough when you walk in with your eyes wide open." Kitty nods in agreement.

With a rigorous lifestyle of travel, writing and motivational speaking, Ellis kept in form over the years with frequent basketball workouts in his own driveway court at home in Scott Depot.

But his backboard and goal were damaged by a windstorm last February, and Ellis was unable to practice his favorite sport of the past seventy or so years.

It was then that his fans in Putnam Rotary, led by Tom Midkiff, sprang into action.

The club bought replacement gear, and installed it for Ellis.

And once again, "Basketball Bill" Ellis is ready to take on all challengers in a friendly scrimmage contest.

That is, when he has time from his travel, speaking and writing.

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